Table 1: Electrical Power and Renewable Energy Systems Overview
Total Local Production
Imports from the U.S.
Total Market Size
[total market size = (total local production + imports) – exports] Units: USD millions
Source: World Trade Atlas; Industry Associations
Colombia’s energy transition process is underway. Former President Ivan Duque set a goal to increase non-conventional renewable energy installed capacity from one percent to more than 12 percent of the energy matrix by 2022. While the Duque Administration did not meet the goal, the new Petro Administration is committed to energy transition and extended the deadline to 2030. The renewable energy goal is part of Colombia’s overall strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual projections by 51 percent by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
President Petro continues to emphasize energy transition as a key priority of his administration and branded his policy as the Just Energy Transition Plan. The government is working on the Just Energy Transition roadmap that will focus on electric power generation at the community level, including rural communities. They are also working on the list of critical minerals (for mining) for the energy transition that should be released in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Colombia’s installed electric power generation capacity currently stands at 17,771 MW, with hydro accounting for 68 percent, gas and coal-fired power plants accounting for 31 percent, and the remaining one percent from wind and solar units. The country’s energy matrix is clean but highly dependent on climatic conditions to generate hydro power.
Colombia’s Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) has conducted three renewable energy auctions and has awarded a total of nine wind and 16 solar large-scale projects, worth around USD 3.1 billion. The developers signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 2.1 GW of wind and solar capacity due to be commissioned by the end of 2022, and early 2023, but the wind projects in the La Guajira department are delayed (to connect to the grid) because the Colectora power transmission line has not yet been built. The projects will contribute to the country’s aim to generate 2.5 GW of solar, wind, and biomass energy.
The addition of Law 2099 of 2021 (the Energy Transition Law) established the foundation for a reliable regulatory framework, promoting the deployment of this sustainable energy vector, which will be key to achieving the country’s emission reduction targets. The new law established an attractive fiscal framework for investment in non-conventional energy sources, including green and blue hydrogen. With this, the benefits of Law 1715 will be applied for 30 years, which includes exemption from payment of customs duties, exclusion of VAT, accelerated depreciation, and deduction of income tax of 50 percent of the investment.
In 2021, Colombia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy presented its Hydrogen Roadmap. Its stated goals were to reach between 1 and 3GW of electrolysis capacity in 2030 and produce 50 kilotonnes of blue hydrogen from new methane steam reforming plants and the capture and storage of carbon in existing facilities. With abundant natural gas reserves and the largest coal producer in Latin America, Colombia is focusing on blue hydrogen production as a base from which to start building the hydrogen value chain.
In 2022, Colombia published its roadmap for offshore wind development, part of a broader plan to wean the country off hydropower and fossil fuels. The roadmap was authored by London-based firm Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) in partnership with the World Bank and the British Government. The long-term forecast forms part of a best-case scenario that also envisions 1GW of capacity by 2030 and 3GW by 2040. In a less than optimal scenario, it assumes development without a forward-looking strategy and procurement program, capacity would likely reach 200MW by 2030, 500MW by 2040, and 1.5GW by 2050, according to RCG.
Distributed Generation projects are also growing in Colombia. More than 1,000 projects in the private sector from different industries are looking to install solar photovoltaic solutions that allow them to generate their own energy. The Colombian energy sector regulator CREG recently published a resolution (101011 of 2022) outlining guidelines for the connection of small-scale wind and solar plants to the national grid.
Power distribution and specialty transformers
- Solar photovoltaic systems
- Wind power systems
- Industrial controls
- Steam, gas, and hydraulic turbines
- Smart meters and demand response systems
- Turbine generator sets
- Consulting services (Project Management)
- Energy storage
- Lithium batteries
- Offshore wind technologies
- Green and blue hydrogen technologies
- Electric cables (copper)
Since the government is developing several new power generation projects to accommodate growing demand through 2031, the outlook for the Colombian electricity sector is promising. The 2.4 GW Ituango hydro project that suffered from landslides and flooding of its powerhouse has a delay in its completion. The first unit one came online at the end of 2022, and the final unit is projected to reach completion in 2026. Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) is still facing issues of high technical complexity, the shielding of the vertical pressure wells, and the underwater works at a depth of 50 meters in the reservoir have become the critical path and EPM requires the contribution of world-class companies and professionals and use of the most modern technologies to continue operations.
The country is developing the regulatory framework to promote new technologies such as geothermal, hydrogen (green and blue), and offshore wind. The Ministry of Mines and Energy has published the roadmap for green and blue hydrogen (September 2021) and for offshore wind (May 2022). In April 2022, Colombia launched Colombia’s Green Taxonomy, a tool that facilitates the channeling of resources to achieve the country’s environmental objectives.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy is preparing an auction for offshore wind concessions amid efforts to achieve up to 50GW of power generation potential from its Caribbean coastline. The bidding process is shceduled to begin in the second half of 2023. The first projects are expected to begin commercial operations in 2030.
Ecopetrol plans to invest around USD 140 million annually over the next three years to execute its strategic plan for green, blue, and white hydrogen. The company expects production of the fuel to reach 1Mt/y by 2040. The company’s plan is to articulate actions that will strengthen the development of the strategic plan for low-carbon hydrogen with specific projects to decarbonize hydrogen production from refineries and initiatives for industrial use and sustainable mobility
ExpoSolar Colombia 2023 (Renewable Energy Industry – Solar Power Technologies)
October 4-6, 2023
Plaza Mayor Convention and Exhibition Center
FISE 2023 (International Fair on the Electric Industry)
November 14-16, 2023
Plaza Mayor Convention and Exhibition Center
Feria Renovables y Recursos Distribuidos LATAM 2024 (Renewable Energy Industry)
Puerta de Oro Convention Center
For additional information, including market analysis, trade events, and the products and services that the U.S. Commercial Service can provide to help you succeed in the Colombian market, please contact:
U.S. Embassy Bogotá